Despite having been attached to play the late, great Freddie Mercury in a Queen biopic for a couple of years, comedian/actor Sacha Baron Cohen has said ‘I Want To Break Free’ from the project after agreeing to disagree with the surviving members of Queen (also producers of the film).
Cohen is said to have wanted “a gritty R-rated tell-all” story whilst the band didn’t, with the latter having the final say on the script and director despite both the hiring of scribe Peter Morgan and negotiations with big-name directors such as David Fincher and Tom Hooper having been on Cohen’s initiative. These creative differences meant no formal offer could be made to Hooper, who Cohen previously worked with on Les Miserables.
A few months ago, screenwriter Morgan confessed that it was tricky reaching agreements with the remaining members of the band, Brian May, Roger Taylor and John Deacon:
“Queen are sensitive because it will show rancour and disagreements in the collaborative process. In a way, the film, for me, reflects my own experience of filmmaking as a collaborative process. Just as a film is never the result of one person, so the band doesn’t like the idea of Queen being “A Band by Freddie Mercury” – and they’re right. It won’t just be about Freddie Mercury.”
Providing the film still goes ahead, a new Mercury will obviously need to be cast, who is willing to get involved in a more audience-friendly take that Cohen was not prepared to accept.
Cohen, and particularly his alter-ego Borat, is quite the dead ringer for Mercury so the producers have wuite the task in hand to find a replacement. Who would you like to see portray the rock icon now that Cohen is out of the equation?
One actor who has often shown an interest in playing the role is Anglo-Indian actor James Floyd who played Freddie in a recent television movie The Best Possible Taste: The Kenny Everett Story. We’ll leave you with a snippet from said movie. Let us know if you think he could be the man for the job.